We’re excited to announce that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named our very own VP of Channel Sales, Melissa McCoy, to its prestigious list of 2019 Channel Chiefs and Flexential’s partner program in its 2019 Partner Program Guide. Melissa is relatively new to Flexential, beginning her career with the company this past July, and has since made an incredible impact on the company and on our partners. It goes without saying that these recognitions are well-deserved. Eager to tap into her 20 years of experience in the channel, I sat down with Melissa to learn more about our fearless channel leader and how she plans to enable partners, plus an inside look at what’s in store for the channel in 2019.
Patrick Doherty: First off, congrats on being selected as a 2019 CRN Channel Chief and for Flexential’s recognition in the 2019 Partner Program Guide! What makes your leadership and Flexential’s channel partner program stand out?
Melissa McCoy: Thanks, Pat! It’s an honor to be featured among other great leaders in the channel. My team and the program are an extension of my role, and I’m truly grateful to have such an awesome group of channel and sales pros – and partners – driving innovation in the industry. One thing that Flexential does well is that we continue to make big investments and include the channel as a core part of our go-to-market (GTM) strategy. Over the last several months, we have spent a lot of time focusing on enhancing our channel programs and processes and building out our partner enablement materials. Our goal is to make it easier for our partners to do business with us and to help them solve their customers’ IT business challenges. Ultimately, our channel-first mindset and eagerness to educate is really what sets us apart from others.
Doherty: How do you define partner enablement, and why is it important?
McCoy: Partner enablement is the investment in tools, resources and education for your partners. We leverage enablement to ensure that our partners understand how hybrid IT can help drive more value with their customers. In addition, partner enablement can also be viewed as taking on an advisory role with your partners and informing them on new and emerging technologies. It is very important to provide insight into industry trends and market opportunities that can help open new revenue sources with their customers.
Doherty: How do you measure channel success?
McCoy: At the end of the day, channel success is ultimately based on customer satisfaction. Partners are consultants and “trusted advisors” to their customers. We want our partners to know that when they work with Flexential, we are delivering the highest level of support/best customer experience possible. If customers are the core of our channel program, then everything else falls into place in building a successful channel program.
Doherty: What trends are you seeing as most prevalent in the industry right now? In other words, what are Flexential’s partners most excited and/or concerned about?
McCoy: Everyone is buzzing about edge computing. With the increase in AI and IoT and the adoption of 5G, there is a greater need for real-time processing of data with very low latency at the edge. Partners are given the opportunity to help companies better understand and develop their edge strategies. And, while complex, if the technology is fully understood, we can together help the industry recognize the imminent need to process data closer and closer to the end user by utilizing local edge data centers in Tier 2 markets.
Another major debate in the data center space right now is whether the cloud will replace the data center, or more specifically, colocation. We’re working with our partners to help them navigate these cloud-first strategies and complex discussions with their customers, explaining that certain workloads are simply not intended for the cloud, and many applications still need a purpose-built physical environment to run properly. Long story short, as the advisors to our channel partners we’ve made it our mission to educate them on what workloads and applications belong where – and why a hybrid IT strategy should be top of mind for the industry as we shift towards a cloud-centric world.
The biggest trends in the technical data center and IT industry seem to always come full circle to partner enablement. If you’re taking the time to educate your partners on emerging trends and technologies, it will open many doors to new sales opportunities.
Doherty: Lastly, why is it an exciting time to work in the channel, and furthermore, in your new role at Flexential?
McCoy: Customers are constantly trying to navigate this new hybrid IT world and drive digital transformation initiatives to meet their business objectives. This opens up big opportunities for partners to serve as “trusted advisors” to their clients.
In my current role, I’m most excited to continue adding value to our partners and support their business growth with Flexential’s unique ‘one-stop shop’ portfolio of hybrid IT services, ranging from colocation and cloud to DRaaS and beyond. It’s exciting to work for a company where the channel is a core part of the overall GTM strategy –and one that has big plans to continue investing in the tools and resources needed to support our partners. Another exciting element of the Flexential Partner Network is that it is fully integrated with the direct sales team. This allows us to offer a comp-neutral partner model, reducing any potential channel conflicts.
To keep our finger on the pulse of the channel community, we have developed a Partner Advisory Board with ongoing events like our Annual Partner Summit, where our partners can provide us with insights on what’s working – or not – and where our partners may need additional support. We are also gearing up for the Flexential Partner of the Year Awards, which will be announced in tandem with Channel Partners Expo this month. The future of the channel is a bright one, and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress and business growth our team achieves throughout the remainder of year!
*All Channel Chief honorees are selected by CRN's editorial staff on the basis of their professional achievements, standing in the industry, dedication to the channel partner community and strategies for driving future growth and innovation. The complete 2019 CRN Channel Chiefs list is featured in the February 2019 issue of CRN.
*The CRN Partner Program Guide is an annual list of partner programs from technology vendors that provide products and services through the IT channel. CRN assesses each partner program based on investments in program offerings, partner profitability, partner training, education and support, marketing programs and resources, sales support and communication. The complete 2019 CRN Partner Program Guide is featured in the April 2019 issue of CRN.